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96292.  Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:46 am Reply with quote

Q: What is quite interesting about leftover lasagne?

A: It can become a bone fide electric battery.

If you put a leftover lasagne in the fridge with aluminium foil over it, it could hypothetically power your iPod.

When the aluminium touches a different metal - say the stainless steel tray holding your lasagne - and a conductor (in this case the tomato sauce), the three materials create an electric battery.

This is how it works:

The stainless steel tray is mostly made of iron.
The iron's atoms hold onto their electrons more tightly than aluminium atoms hold onto theirs. Given a chance, the tray's iron atoms steal electrons from the foil's aluminium atoms. This is where the tomato sauce comes in handy, as it offers a conductive path for the electrons to go from the aluminium to the iron. Hey presto. Electricity.

If you don't believe me, put a tablespoon of ketchup in a stainless steel bowl, a plastic bowl and glass bowl. Lay a strip of aluminium foil on each of the blobs of ketchup, making sure the foil touches the bowl.
After two days, the foil is the stainless steel bowl will have been eroded wherever it touched the ketchup, while the other two bowls will be intact.

What Einstein Told His Cook, Robert L.Wolke, W.W.Norton


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